Memorial Day

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What is it?

Memorial Day is a day for Americans to honor and remember men and women in uniform who perished while serving their country. Memorial Day, observed the last Monday in May, honors service members who have died in all U.S. wars.

Memorial Day was known originally as Decoration Day because it set aside a time to honor the nation’s Civil War dead by decorating their graves. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War Soldiers. U.S. Army Gen. John A. Logan, the commander in chief of the veterans’ organization, Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed May 30 as Decoration Day. The Uniform Holiday Act moved Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May in 1971.

What has the Army done?

The Army remembers, recognizes and honors the ultimate sacrifices made by fallen Soldiers. The Army will join the nation in observing Memorial Day by participating and hosting remembrance ceremonies on installations, pausing for a moment of silence, visiting memorials, and placing American flags at gravesites. Soldiers, Army Civilians and their Family members also observe the National Moment of Remembrance. Congress established the act in 2000 to increase awareness and reverence of Memorial Day and to honor Americans who died while defending the nation and its values. The act encourages Americans everywhere to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by many to provide freedom for all.

What continued efforts have been planned for the future?

The Army continues to care for the survivors and Families of fallen heroes because the nation owes them a debt of eternal gratitude. The Army is committed to providing on-going support to surviving Family members. Survivor Outreach Services offices provide supportive counseling, financial education, benefits coordination and support groups to Family members at garrisons and the surrounding areas.

Why is this important to the Army?

Memorial Day is a time for those in uniform to reaffirm their commitment to selfless service. As men and women continue to serve and risk their lives around the world, the Army pauses on Memorial Day to remember the legacy of American Soldiers. This day is an opportunity for the Army Family to share stories of sacrifice and heroism and inspire new generations to understand the cost of freedom.

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